What Motivates You to Dance? Allison DeBona’s #ArtWithAlli

Allison DeBona, a soloist with Ballet West (and star of the show Breaking Pointe), has started a campaign called #ArtWithAlli on her blog, Allison’s Pointe of View.  DeBona wrote:

“Dance is evolving so fast, the technique is more difficult, and you’re required to do multiple turns, jump higher and battement to the sky.  I appreciate all of those things, but for me, that is not what defines a great ARTIST.  In class I am always working toward improving my technique and physical abilities, but it seems to me that today young dancers are so focused on quantity that the artistry of our craft is often lost.”

DeBona said in her post that she’s going to challenge readers over the next 12 months, starting this month by asking you to exploring  your motivation for dancing and your contribution to our art form. 

You post your response in her forum, but also share your journey using the hashtag #artwithalli on social media. I’ll be working on my own post about my own motivation soon and sharing it both here, in the forum, and on social media, and I encourage you to do the same!

What motivates you to dance?

 

Q & A with Breaking Pointe’s Allison DeBona

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I started taking ballet a few month’s before the first season of Breaking Pointe started airing.  Since it began, it has been one of my favorite shows on TV as well as an inspiration to me. Although there has been a lot of controversy behind the show (ranging from complaints of not enough dance to too much drama)–the show has done a lot to get ballet back into the spotlight. It’s definitely helped foster my appreciation for dance and makes me want to keep doing ballet although sometimes it has been really tough.

Allison DeBona has definitely been one of my inspirations on the show. Even though she was portrayed as the villain in season one, we got to see a different side of her in the second season. I also love the fact that Allison is super active on social media and loves her fans. She even created a stretching video for them:

Here’s my interview with Allison:

Adult Ballerina Project: When and why did you start dancing ballet?

Allison DeBona: I started ballet at the age of three! I remember loving it from the beginning. I loved pretending to be someone other than myself!

ABP: Who or what inspires your dancing?

Allison: Story telling really drives me to dance. I love being able to bring things to life on stage. I also like to make my family proud. They have done so much to help me get this far and its the only way to pay them back.

ABP: What made you want to pursue dancing as a career?

Allison: I’ve always had a thirst to be onstage. I can’t imagine ever having a desk job!

ABP: What made you decide to go to college instead of immediately pursuing a career in ballet?

Allison: I had taken time off of ballet as teen and I was 16 when I went back to ballet. My parents and I thought it would be best to train longer and we felt college was the best route.

ABP: What has been your favorite dance role?

Allison: I honestly love them all and am grateful for any opportunity I have on stage.

ABP: Who has been your favorite choreographer to work with?

Allison: I can’t answer that!!! Every person has something different to offer. You can learn from anyone!

ABP: What are you currently working on?

Allison: We just finished Sleeping Beauty on tour at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago and next we are working on our fall rep. We are performing “Fire Bird,” “Petite Mort” and “Who Cares?.”

ABP: Do you workout outside of ballet?

Allison: I love going to the gym. I usually run on a treadmill and lift weights.

ABP: What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Allison: You can always find me drinking a protein shake after class or between rehearsals. They make me feel strong.

ABP: Do you watch any other dance shows? How well do you think ballet is represented on TV?

Allison: I think there is a dance show for everyone out there. They are all different and they all offer a different perspective. Any opportunity dance has to be exposed is good for our art form.

ABP: What changes in Breaking Pointe would you want to see in Season 3?

Allison: That’s a tough question. Maybe if we get Season 3 we can talk more about our journey’s to being professional. That might be interesting to people.

ABP: What’s it like to be a soloist in Ballet West?

Allison: Amazing. That’s all that I can say about it.

ABP: How has your fame on Breaking Pointe affected your dance career?

Allison: I don’t feel any different in the studio. I do, however, feel a little more nerves dancing live knowing that everyone knows who I am. It’s a bit more pressure.

ABP: What advice would you give to adults (or anyone) who wants to start ballet?

Allison: Ballet is mind over matter. Stay focused and determined and you can accomplish anything!

Find Allison on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to her YouTube account for more stretching videos!

Thoughts on Breaking Pointe’s New Season

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There has been a lot of controversy over Breaking Pointe this season, partnered with a lot of disappointment when the first episode aired–a lot of the ballet community was upset over how little ballet there actually was. I think Rebecca King captured how a lot of how I felt on Tendus Under a Palm Tree (she’s a professional dancer, too) after the first episode.

Now that we’re three episodes in, I’ve decided to share my opinions, too.

Ballet Becomes More Widespread

I think one of the most important segments of the first episode was of Adam explaining each part of the ballet company in relation to high school classes. At first, I thought, “blah, blah, blah. If you know anything about ballet already, you’d know this.” Thinking back on this, that’s not the point. As King quotes Allison DeBona as saying: “We originally set out on this endeavor to help rejuvenate the public’s interest in ballet and it feels like we are serving our purpose.” I think the show is definitely serving it’s purpose, although it’s doing it in a way not all of us are happy with.

People are learning more about how a ballet company operates because of Breaking Pointe, and the pain that goes into producing a ballet. Take Rex Tilton and Ronnie Underwood’s injuries and Joshua Whitehead’s disappointment of not getting the role of Napoleon(which he desperately wanted) for example. Both injuries and disappointment’s are a huge part of the real ballet world. I love learning more and more about what company life is like.

…but it’s still “reality TV”

I’ve seen a lot of people get upset over how Beckanne Sisk has gone from being the polite, new young dancer to the evil villain of this show and the bitchy girlfriend (taking over DeBona’s role, essentially).  We realized last season that DeBona isn’t exactly the evil queen she was played out to be (and in fact, they haven’ shown that angle at all this season). There’s also the apparent “extreme tension” we’re apparently going to get to see between Christiana Bennet and Christopher Ruud in future episodes, which I believe they’re obviously over-dramatizing as well.

Producers feel they need to create drama in order to appeal to the reality TV masses…but I’m okay with that. As a ballet fan outside of the world of Breaking Pointe, I’ve accepted that the CW needs to add the unneeded drama and partying–as long as it means I still get to see quality ballet as well.

Are you happy with the new season of Breaking Pointe so far?

TV and Ballet: Breaking Pointe, Bunheads, and more!

Since Breaking Pointe was renewed for a second season yesterday, I figured this would be an appropriate post for today.

There’s always been a fair amount of dance shows on TV, from Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance to MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. This summer, however, two new ballet shows premiered: Bunheads (my personal guilty pleasure) and Breaking Pointe.

Bunheads is essentially a show about a 30-something named Michelle who leaves her life as a Las Vegas dancer and ends up helping teach ballet in Paradise–a town in the middle of no where. The show has its moments–like when Michelle sprays the entire cast of the Nutcracker with mace. which she had accidentally grabbed out of her gigantic dance bag full of stuff (I’m sure a lot of us have messy dance bags!) instead of hairspray. It’s essentially my guilty pleasure because Amy Sherman-Palladino created it (creator of Gilmore Girls) and a lot of the old Gilmore Girls cast star on the show (Kelly Bishop as the ballet studio owner Fanny) or make guest appearances. I just wish the show focused on ballet more. If you liked Gilmore Girls, it’s definitely worth a shot.

However, Breaking Pointe is what has really inspired me to push myself with doing ballet. The show follows the dancers of Salt Lake City’s Ballet West company members as they train. Beckanne Sisk, my personal favorite on the show, is only 19 and already a demi-soloist for Ballet West (she also studied at the Rock School–which is here in Philadelphia where I live). The show also follows Katie Martin, who spends the show searching for a new company after not being signed for the next season at Ballet West (don’t let that lead you into thinking she isn’t any good–she is!). It’s amazing how she manages to stay so upbeat despite having to find a new job and having to leave her friends behind at Ballet West. Lastly, the shows main star, Allison Debona, (although she’s sometimes terrifying, but she means well), is inspirational to adult ballerinas because she attended college in Pittsburgh before going on to become a professional dancer at a later age than most. And of course, all the dancing on the show is amazing, and it’s the focus of the show, unlike Bunheads.

What shows inspire you to dance? Do you plan on catching up on Bunheads or Breaking Pointe before the new seasons air?

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